2017-05-18 / Community

Warmer weather brings out bikers

CHP urges caution on roadways
By Caitlin Trude


SAFETY STRESSED—Southern California is a huge draw for motorcyclists, both those living locally and those traveling from other states. May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. SAFETY STRESSED—Southern California is a huge draw for motorcyclists, both those living locally and those traveling from other states. May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It happens every year. The weather gets warmer and Southern California streets get a little bit more crowded with motorcyclists cruising the coastline and mountain roadways.

To help prevent the number of motorcycle-related collisions, injuries and fatalities from increasing as they typically do during the warmer months, the California Highway Patrol is recognizing the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and encouraging motorists to drive with caution.

“No matter how you travel on California’s roadways, safety should always come first,” state CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a press release. “Motorcyclists and drivers both share equal responsibility for roadway safety.”

More than 884,000 registered motorcycles and 1.4 million licensed motorcyclists are in California, according to data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

And according to preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, 476 motorcyclists were killed in traffic collisions in 2016. More than 14,000 others were injured last year.

In 2015, nearly 500 motorcyclists were killed and more than 13,500 sustained injuries.

For motorcycle riders, following the basic laws of traffic can mean the difference between life and death.

CHP officers urge riders to always use their turn signals, avoid riding in another driver’s blind spot and ride sober.

They also advise motorcyclists to wear helmets—as required by law—and protective gear while out on the roads.

But it’s also up to drivers sharing the road with motorcyclists to help ensure their safety.

Most multi-vehicle motorcycle collisions are caused by drivers who don’t see the bikes, so drivers should always be on the alert for riders and leave plenty of space between their car and a motorcycle on the road, police said.

“With great weather and scenery, California has always been a state where motorcycling for recreation and commuting takes place virtually year-round,” Rhonda Craft, state Office of Traffic Safety director, said in a press release. “But both riders and drivers must be constantly aware of the dangers.

“We all have to be mindful of every vehicle around us and share the roadways with safety in mind.”

There were 56 motorcycle related accidents in the Moorpark station area in 2016, CHP officer Marco Marin said.

Out of those, 47 involved injuries, six involved property damage, two were hit-and-runs and one resulted in a fatality.

Though Marin said it’s difficult to tell whether or not motorcyclists and drivers have made more conscious efforts to drive safely over the years, he’s found that law enforcement personnel have made it more of a priority to educate motorists on the importance of roadway safety.

“The awareness and education out there has gotten better than when I first came onto the department,” he said.

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